PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2012, 3:34am

Neighbours consider joint marine patrols

MANILA - The Philippine defence chief says his country and neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia are considering joint patrols of their sea borders to combat piracy, smuggling and movement of al-Qaeda-linked militants. Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said yesterday that he discussed the proposal with his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts who visited the Philippines this week to visit their troops involved in efforts to strengthen a truce between Filipino troops and Muslim rebels in the south. AP

Japan and North Korea hold 'frank' talks

BEIJING - Japan and North Korea were in close contact for a second day as the countries seek to find enough common ground for possible future discussions at a higher level. Diplomats from the two sides held their first face-to-face encounter in four years on Wednesday in Beijing, in relatively low-level talks Japan characterised as "matter-of-fact and frank". The countries do not have formal diplomatic relations. AFP

Muslim beheaded and burned in Thailand

PATTANI, Thailand - Suspected insurgents have beheaded and burned the body of a Muslim grocery store owner in Thailand's violence-prone south. Police found the burning, headless body of the 57-year-old victim on a pickup truck that was set on fire in Bannang Sata district in Yala province. The man's head was found in the bush near his truck. AP

Question of age delays blasphemy hearing

ISLAMABAD - A judge hearing the case of a Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy delayed her bail hearing after a lawyer questioned a medical report putting the girl's age at 14, suggesting the government had tried to influence it. The new challenge quashed any chance that the controversy over the case would be swiftly defused and the girl set free. AP

Ex-IBM boss questioned over indecent photos

TOKYO - A former president of IBM Japan has been questioned by police after allegedly filming up the skirt of an unsuspecting woman in a train station. Takuma Otoshi, 63, used his iPod to take the illicit footage as the woman rode an escalator at a busy Tokyo station, Yomiuri Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun reported. Passers-by saw what he was doing and reported him to police officers who found the recording, the papers said. AFP